Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush is a traditional Levantine spread made from roasted, mashed eggplants, tahini (sesame paste) and various other flavors. It is wonderfully simple, can be made ahead of time because it keeps well, and a large batch is nearly as easy to make as a small batch.

Even people who typcially don’t like eggplant will enjoy this Middle Eastern “dip”. This dish, paired with some chips or bread or pita or julienned vegetables, makes a lovely and unusual potluck dish.

  • 2 pounds eggplant (about 2 large globe, 5 medium Italian, or 12 medium Japanese), each poked uniformly over surface with fork to prevent bursting
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic , minced
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil , plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Turn all burners on gas grill to high, close lid, and heat grill until hot, 10 to 15 minutes. Set eggplants on grill rack in a clock-like pattern. Grill until skins darken and wrinkle on all sides and eggplants are uniformly soft when pressed with tongs , about 25 minutes for large globe eggplants, 20 minutes for Italian eggplants, and 15 minutes for Japanese eggplants, turning every 5 minutes and reversing direction of eggplants on grill with each turn. Transfer eggplants to rimmed baking sheet and cool 5 minutes.

Set small colander over bowl or in sink. Trim top and bottom off each eggplant. Slit eggplants lengthwise and use spoon to scoop hot pulp from skins and place pulp in colander (you should have about 2 cups packed pulp); discard skins. Let pulp drain 3 minutes.

Transfer pulp to workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; process until mixture has coarse, choppy texture, about eight 1-second pulses. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; transfer to serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap flush with surface of dip, and refrigerate 45 to 60 minutes.

To serve, use spoon to make trough in center of dip and spoon olive oil into it; sprinkle with parsley and serve. Makes 2 cups


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